When setting up your own business, it’s easy to think about the obvious things such as products, services, your market, and many other aspects.
However, in the haste of getting up and running as soon as possible, it’s easy to forget about the legal side of becoming an official business. Many businesses don’t require government registration but still need to file as one.
Before you file, there are some steps you need to take, the primary one being to establish what kind of business you’re filing as. Public and private limited companies account for the majority of global conglomerates; however, you can also establish a limited-liability company without partners as a single-member LLC.
Any business filed in the U.S. needs an address acting as your base of operations. Although there are many benefits to having a separate office for conducting day-to-day operations, you can register your home as a business address if you want to save money. If you decide to do this, for a monthly subscription you can also get a virtual address to protect your home privacy.
Regardless of whether you use a home office or not, you must adhere to the government’s strict requirements regarding your business address. A home-based business address must have a section of the home designated solely for operations and must not be used as a personal space. Additionally, all administrational work must be carried out at this address.
Your business name is essential in generating customers and clients, and a good name could be the difference between success and failure. Most importantly, you want your name to remain consistent, as brand awareness and identity are vital in acquiring and retaining customers. When filing as an LLC or a corporation, registering your name will be a part of the process
You’ll also want to trademark your business name so others can’t use it. In some instances, namely, when filing as a sole trader/proprietorship or as a partnership, your business name will automatically be set as the name of the owner/owners. However, if you wish to register a separate name as one of those organizations, you can file a Doing-As Business name (DBA).
Acquire Your EIN
In order to properly file taxes for your business, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN acts as a social security number for your business and is provided by the IRS once you register your business with them. Also known as state and federal tax IDs, filing for an EIN is often the bare minimum that a new business must do to begin legal operations.
It’s simple and easy to sign up for an EIN online, and this step completes all of the federal registrations you have to carry out.
Register With The Revenue Office
If you plan on hiring employees or taking a wage from your company, you’ll need to file with the revenue offices. Establishing tax information for all employees that work for your business is a legal requirement, and neglecting this may result in an audit. You’ll additionally need to file with your state or local agency to conduct payroll taxes.
Obtain Appropriate Licenses
While you can legally act as a business once the previous steps have been properly followed, many business activities require additional licensing. This is the part of filing a business that will be different depending on the sector, the industry, and the business model. The most common licenses revolve around alcohol and vehicles.
If your business deals with alcohol in any way, whether that be production, sales, storage, or other use, you’ll need a commercial liquor license. These licenses range between $3,000 and $14,000 and are state-dependent. You’ll need to submit the proper forms to a government body, explaining the nature of your business and the intended purpose of the alcohol use.
A personal driver’s license won’t legally allow you to drive commercial motor vehicles for your business. In order to do this within the full parameters of the law, you’ll require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDLs determine what types of vehicles you can drive, ranging from tractors to buses to trailers.
You’ll also need to acquire permits for any oversized or overweight vehicle your company operates with, as directed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Certain industries will need licensing specific to their field. Any transportation of fauna or flora, including animal products and biotechnologies, will require an agricultural license. Any transportation performed by air or aircraft maintenance requires an aviation license. Mining and drilling also require a license, as does the production of firearms and nuclear energy.
There are several other types of licenses that your business may need to operate legally, and